Tag Archives | desert

a decade of caleb

This face of joy is Caleb, at one, at Barnegat Light on Long Beach Island.  He’d learned to walk at nine months, which meant that despite having a brain about the size of a walnut and a diaper the size of a basketball, he would climb up stairs, stagger along the curb, or waddle straight into the surf, utterly without fear.

This August, we spent our tenth summer on LBI and it’s Caleb’s favorite beach (which, given that he’s now spent time on beaches in the Maldives and Sri Lanka, is quite a compliment).  Our first summer on LBI, I was hugely, gigantically pregnant and wearing a maternity bathing suit that was so hideous it can be only excused by pregnantbrain. Why else would a woman in her last weeks of pregnancy purchase and wear a shiny teal maternity tankini? On the upside, I suppose I was responsible for any number of teen-age girls not getting pregnant  that summer. They took one look at my spherical teal body and told their boyfriends to back the hell off

But Caleb. My sweet, fearless Caleb, who still plunges into the ocean with the grace and abandon of a seal, he’s ten. He’s learning Arabic and computer coding and the trumpet; he wants to be an author, or maybe a spy, or maybe a mad scientist, perhaps a basketball player.  I think he might be headed for the stage, because the boy has never met a hat he doesn’t like:

calebinnurseryschoolnursery school graduation

calebindiaIndia – tiger safari (no tigers, just a hat)

calebsingaporeUniversal Studios Singapore: minion loot

This boy who loves hats and computers, who doesn’t read books so much as devour them, and who was as happy with his book about military history as he was about an envelope containing 300 dirhams (about 80 bucks, and okay, he was a bit more excited by the cash), doesn’t yet realize the strength of his own gifts.  He measures himself against his older brother, not willing to concede the difference that almost four years makes.  I think that might be why Caleb learned to walk so young: he wanted to keep up.  Now, however, with the dawning of pre-adolescent self-consciousness, he sometimes doesn’t try to keep up because he’s sure that he’ll never catch his brother.  It’s a funny trick of growing up, isn’t it, the way the confidence of childhood evanesces just when we need it most?

Caleb is our current-events child; he reads the newspaper and tells us what’s happening in Gaza, in Syria, in Ferguson–and then asks the hard questions that we should all be asking and attempting to answer: how do these things happen, why do these things happen, why do people care about the color of other people’s skin or the way they worship?

We moved to Abu Dhabi on the eve of Caleb’s 7th birthday and the traveling we’ve done since we’ve been here means that he’s been to more countries by ten than I had by thirty-five.  His passport looks weather-beaten, as if he were a career foreign services officer–and who knows, perhaps that’s where he’s headed.  I can’t even begin to predict what he’s going to be when he grows up–perhaps the stage, or maybe he’ll go concoct strange potions in some jungle laboratory. Who knows.

All I know is that our lives for the past decade have been richer and more joyous for Caleb’s presence.  I can’t wait to see what’s next on the journey.

calebsand

 

Continue Reading · on August 24, 2014 in Abu Dhabi, birth, Children, family, Kids, Parenting, Travel

Monday Listicles: 10 Photos, 10 Wishes

This Monday’s listicle comes at the request of Kim, at Zook Book Nook: she’s having a new baby, maybe even right this very minute, and she wanted to create a series of blog posts about “the senses.”  This week’s series is about “sight,” so we were asked to put together our ten favorite photos.

The people who really know how to work this here newfangled internet thing did pinterest and instagram and all that stuff, and others simply posted lovely, wonderful photos, probably culled from their immaculately cataloged digital archives.

Yeah. Well. Yay for them. Me, not so much.

Husband has done an admirable job of cataloging many of our photos but many (most?) are scattered around any number of hard drives, any number of photo file systems.  So some things are right there where they should be but, for instance, most of 2005 is missing.

So I can’t put my hands on my favorite photos, or not all of them anyway, but here are some photos that could be seen as wishes…

1. May your diapers never account for most of your total body weight:

two year old Caleb

2. May you know the joy (mostly) of an older sibling:

boys, City Palace in Jaipur

3. May you know the joy of silly hats (and silly walks, also fart jokes):

4. May you have the gift of imagination and the empty time in which to exercise that gift:

5.  May you have the gift of music:

Washington Square Park, NYC, 2010

6. May you have the gift of art:

sand painting, Union Square Park NYC, 2011

7.  May you have adventures:


8. May you have mysteries…

a screened window, Humayan’s Tomb, Delhi

9. …and beauty…

Rub-al-kali, The Empty Quarter

10. …and peace:

Sedgewood, New York State


Continue Reading · on November 28, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, birth, Children, family, Monday Listicle, NYC, NYUAD, Travel

Qasr Al Sarab

Husband and I decided on a splurge during our visit to Abu Dhabi – a splurge underwritten by some research monies he has for an article he’s working on (seriously! About Arabian Sands, a book written by an Englishman who wanted to map the part of the Arabian Desert known as Rub Al Khali, or The Empty Quarter.  This section of desert is shared by Saudi, UAE, Yemen, and Oman, and is larger than France, Netherlands, and Belgium put together.  It has more sand than the Sahara, even though in square miles Rub Al Kali is smaller.  More important than any of those facts? It’s stunningly beautiful.  Gobsmackingly, jaw-droppingly, did-you-see-that beautiful).

Underwriting—or as we like to call it, corporate sponsorship—firmly in place, we made a reservation at Qasr Al Sarab.  We reserved a car service to drive us out there—it’s about two hours outside of Abu Dhabi city, and neither of us are equipped, legally or psychically, to drive in the UAE.  First surprise: when you reserve “a car” in New York, you get some version of an over-scented Lincoln Town Car.  Here? We got a beat-up Toyota station wagon with anemic air conditioning.  We also got an upclose and personal introduction to highway driving, Arab style:  drivers pass one another whenever they want, wherever they want, with a simple flash of headlights to indicate their intentions.  The vehicle in front slides over to the right (without slowing down), the driver behind speeds up into the lane of oncoming traffic (regardless of traffic in other lane), goes around the too-slow vehicle in front, and then slips back into the correct lane.  I stopped watching after a while because I didn’t want my panicky gasps to distract the driver and get us all killed before we arrived at the resort.

Wait. “Resort” is TOTALLY the wrong word for where we arrived after our death-defying desert drive.

We arrived at…time out of mind? A place out of time? The corporeal equivalent to you-have-been-reborn-as-Brangelina? Continue Reading →

Continue Reading · on November 26, 2010 in environment, fun…what a concept, Travel

Leaving On a Jet Plane…

For the last year or so, Husband has been deeply involved in the planning of NYU Abu Dhabi. He’s been there seven times on his own, while I hold down the fort here. It may come as a big surprise but being here alone with the boys was not the most fun I’ve ever had. And okay yes, I’ll admit to being just a teensy-eensy bit bitter about the fact that Husband got to go jaunting around on his own, while I stayed home and did the school-soccer-cooking-cleaning drill on my own  (plus there’s that part where I have a job, too).

What I envied most, however, about Husband’s global travels was that he flew business class. The idea of lounging in a bed for thirteen hours with someone waiting on me?  It’s like heaven at thirty thousand feet, give or take a few thousand.

Sometimes I think it’s a little pathetic that I pine after business class, but I do.

And tonight, my pining pays off: we’re all going to Abu Dhabi, flying Emirates Pearl Business Class.  I would like to take this opportunity to offer an anticipatory apology to my fellow Pearl travelers for Liam and Caleb, who are enthralled with the whole “pod bed” concept–and plan to stay awake for the entire journey in order to watch as many movies as they can cram into the thirteen hour flight.

We’ve got an entire week in the desert, with side trips to see the tallest building in the world, in Dubai; and to an oasis resort, where we have promised the boys camel rides and dune walks. God knows what my white-food-only children will eat–it’s entirely likely they’re going to starve–and I’m just now realizing that all my summer clothes are in a wrinkled wad at the back of my closet, but I don’t care.

Say it with me: business class, business class, business class.

I know there must be more to life than business class, right? Hmm…

I know: first class, first class, first class.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Continue Reading · on November 21, 2010 in family, Travel

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes